The Office of Technology Development’s Ignition Award is designed to help new technologies bridge the (funding?) gap between discovery-oriented research and subsequent development. By providing funding that helps these fledgling technologies reach specific goals or milestones (to show proof of applicability), the Ignition Award helps further them on the path toward commercialization. Each year, applicants submit proposals which are selected based on the quality of the research, the market size and commercialization potential of the proposed product, and the ability of the Ignition Award capital to advance the research. The proposals are evaluated by a panel of venture capitalists and industry experts, as well as members of the Office of Technology Development’s Business Development team. This year’s selection process differed from its’ predecessors’ in its focus on existing technologies, whose creators had already worked extensively with OTD. Christos Cassandras was one of three very qualified winners!
Christos Cassandras (ECE/SE): Making the search for a parking spot easier with Smart Parking
Cassandras’ “Smart Parking” system hopes to ameliorate the stress of finding a parking spot while simultaneously reducing fuel consumption and pollution. Using GPS technology, the Smart Parking system helps a driver locate the best parking space in any given urban environment based on the individual’s predetermined selection criteria. By accounting for proximity of the space to the driver’s destination as well as the cost of parking there, this system helps to maximize the efficiency of any location’s parking capacity. According to Cassandras’ team, their system help to increase parking space utilization by 10-20% over existing guidance-assisted systems, which helps to increase revenues for parking operators.